When we feel pressured or overwhelmed, we experience stress. While small amounts of stress can be motivating, too much stress is a threat to both your physical and emotional well-being.
Stress is a psychological and physiological response to events that upset our personal balance. When stressed, the body's defences kick into an automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” response. When danger is sensed, a small part of the brain called the hypothalamus sets off a chemical alarm. The sympathetic nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline, norepinephrine, and cortisol.
The effects of stress on the body range from moderate to severe but include an increase in heart rate and blood flow to the large muscles, constriction of blood vessels, and de-stabilization of blood sugars. In addition, stress suppresses proper function of the digestive, reproductive and endocrine systems. Instead of levelling off once the crisis has passed, your stress hormones, heart rate, and blood pressure remain elevated. Prolonged exposure to stress increases your risk of illness from heart disease, obesity, and infection to anxiety, depression, and memory problems.
The specific signs and symptoms of stress vary, but include physical symptoms such as lower back pain, stomach problems, and skin outbreaks, as well as emotional and mental symptoms such as anger, hypersensitivity, and changes in thought processes.
If you know your red flags, you can take early steps to deal with the stressful situation before it—or your emotions—spiral out of control.
Our clinic offers acupuncture, shiatsu, biofeedback, herbs and Qi Gong exercises to reduce stress. If you book an appointment with us, we will recommend the best method for you based on your individual condition.